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2009 Subaru Forester



  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    I think these are more typical:

    Again, you need to be careful of the difference between what the dealer recommends and what Subaru does.

    I don't see a power steering flush anywhere.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    They are both more aggressive than recommended by SOA

    They do not require LOAF until 7500 unless driven in severe conditions. Then add basically usual inspections at 15k and inspection and plugs at 30k.
    I guess it all depends how much you drive, but at 10k miles per year that would be less than $600 over 3 years. That's pretty typical isn't it? I stick to the manual, not what my dealership service manager wants from me. I consider winter as severe conditions so bring the schedule forward accordingly.
  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    Congrats on your new Forester! Is your model a turbo?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    ...took a local dealer around an hour to install. They remove a rubber strip under the hood lip, mount small brackets to the hood lip underside, then attach the plastic overlay (with small rubberized bumpers) onto these and over the front lip of the hood.

    Cavets? The label warns against using abrasive cleaners on it, or slamming the hood down. The shield also makes it a bit harder to get fingers under the hood to raise it.

    Hopefully it does the job. Cost was $95 (dealer gave me a discount). Workmanship proved their good service reputation and I will be back there for the 3K oil change.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    So far I am liking my new Forester. I am new to Subaru. The power seems just right and a bit more pep than I expected. On the Jersey turnpike I averaged 31mpg driving with cruise on @60-65 mph. This number , if it is realistic is welcome news to me as well as using reg gas. The negatives i have observed are that the interior , for the upgraded model is way too cheap in feel. Too much hard plastic both in look and feel.The large sunroof is great however, should be tinted darker . I put some static cling window tint on it for the summer months. The radio face seems a bit clouded in bright light and is harder to read. the technician says it is fine. Does anyone else notice this? Also my driver mirror glass vibrates and has a bit of a shake when driving. Anyone else notice it.I also used small stick on circle mirrors to improve blind spot visability. I was also undecided between Rogue and Forester. I believe that i made the right choice even though the Rougue is sportier looking. Rearview visability was very poor, and cargo area was too small.any questions?
  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    We too are considering the Forester - did you ever look at the Rav4? We are deciding between them.
  • arnabcarnabc Posts: 27
    we just bought a 2.5x with the premium package. we researched and drove the rav-4, the cr-v, and the outlander. here are our impressions vis a vis the forester:


    the forester has the best interior in the class, hands-down. and the panoramic moonroof cannot be beat. the rav-4 was second with nothing particularly nice or ugly about it, though the plastics seem much cheaper. the outlander was nice except for two things: a massive front-dash area with a lot of unusable space between the windscreen and the front; and the auxillary jack for mp3 players is in an impossible to get to location. the crv is just ugly on the inside, and the driver's arm-rest is uncomfortable. in the same general price-range the forester feels like it belongs in a price class above. and it has much better visibility than the rav-4 and the crv. the outlander is pretty good in this area as well.

    in terms of exteriors, the outlander is probably the sharpest looking. we placed the forester 2nd. the rav-4 lost points for the ugly spare tire placement and the side-hinge rear door. the cr-v is boring on the outside.

    cargo space:

    we have two 50 pound dogs and so this was a major consideration for us. the outlander probably has the largest usable dog space with the forester a close-second. i say "usable" because the rav-4 has 3 cubic feet more, but a lot of horizontal space is chewed up by the cup-holders etc. for the optional third row seats. not a big deal if you don't have dogs, but if you have two that have to be in there together, losing 7 inches of horizontal space is big.

    the drive:

    i had some trepidation because of the reviews of the 4-speed automatic, but i have to say i was pleasantly surprised. it doesn't have the power of the rav-4 v6 obviously, or the outlander v6, but the feel was comparable to the 5 and 6 speed v4 rav4 and i4 outlander models.

    on the whole, the forester gave us the most bang for the buck. we paid $23,412 for the automatic 2.5x with the premium package. this was about the same for the basic rav4 v4 but with a whole lot more features. the outlander probably compares most favourably at the price but the things the outlander was marginally better for (cargo, 6 speed shift) did not outweigh the things the forester is clearly far better for (the interior--especially that moonroof!). and the outlander has lower rated mileage, and probably lower resale value down the road.

    overall, i would rank the class as follows, adjusted for price:

    1. forester
    2. outlander
    3. rav4
    4. crv

    if you want more power and a 5 or 6 speed shift, the rav-4 and outlander v6's might appeal more; but we are not amateur rally drivers and the forester seemed more than adequate for our needs, and a huge jump in power over our 2000 camry. and while it might be nice to occasionally have more power to pass grandma and grandpa on the freeway, it is always nice to be in such a nice interior.

    finally, we bought our car from a local fixed price dealership (walser subaru in burnsville, mn). i can't tell you how much of a pleasure it is dealing with fixed-price dealerships compared to regular commission-based places. we might have paid a few hundred more, but it was worth it for the lack of smarm, scam and sleaze.

    hope this is helpful to someone else looking.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    "The radio face seems a bit clouded in bright light and is harder to read."

    I know we already asked if it had the film still on it, but here's another silly question: is the brightness all the way up? It should have a little bit more difficult "click" on the dial than the rest to reach the brightest setting in the range.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    I did check to see if it had protective film on it, it did not. Will check the light brightness adjustment in the morning. Redrose..I would not even the RAV for these two reasons..1. The tire mounted and side swing cargo door. It is very difficult if you are parked between cars. Also , I do not think the Rav offers a sport drive trans. which I like .
  • orcorc Posts: 39
    Birdboy - I agree 100% with your assessment of the 2009 Forester.We have a new one with the Premium package. The interior is designed well but the materials are cheap IMO. Mileage is 4 mpg better than the EPA rating for us. Getting 24 city and 30 hwy and sometimes better. The drivers side outside mirror jiggled and was super annoying and the dealer replaced it under warranty - much better now. The panoramic moonroof is great - love it but it could be tinted darker.Yes.. the radio face is junk scratchy looking plastic but it works. The center console is designed ">well but it's also cheaply made. Exterior is sharp looking in the Gray Metallic and we get a lot of compliments. The '09 handles like sports car compared to other small SUV's. Ground clearance is good and it handles our rough gravel and dirt roads well. I love everything about the '09 Forester except the cheap materials of the interior. I liked it so well during the test drive I didn't stop to look closely enough at the interior materials. The faster I drive it the more I like it - it's fun.

  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    In retrospect, because you are disappointed with the Forester's interior, would you still have purchased it or looked elsewhere? Did you ever consider the Outback?
    In other words, is the poor interior enough reason not to buy a Forester? I presently own a V6 Outback and we Have to trade it in - we like the exterior pf the Forester but haven't seen the interior - we like the fact that it is a remodellled design whereas our 2005 Outback won't be redesigned until 2010.

    Your thoughts are much appreciated! Thanks!
  • I've heard that the iPod interface for the premium audio system is supposed to be available this summer, and when I get that installed my intention is to get the under-seat subwoofer put in also. Does anybody have it? Is it worth it? Audio system is ok, but not great.

    Also, for all those looking for recommendations of the Forester vs. CRV, Outback, RAV4, etc., read my previous posts on that--I looked at them all. If you get the XT Limited, it leaves all of the others for dead in performance, comfort and utility (only the RAV4 V6 comparably quick, but it doesn't handle as well and I don't fit in it). If you're scared of the premium fuel requirement, do the math--according to (the government's official site), at 10,000 miles per year the fuel cost difference between the base Forester and the XT is $281. I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty cheap price of entry to make a practical, comfortable, useful vehicle a load of fun to drive as well. (July Car & Driver: 0-60 6.2 seconds)
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    '09 Forester interior is better than before, but there's fair bit of hard plastic inside.
    Be careful with sharp objects around the shift console as that surface scratches pretty easily. The headliner's fragile (but so are lower end RAV4's and a bunch of others).

    Wrt radio/DC display, mine's slightly cloudy but that appears to be a surface treatment designed to minimize sun glare. I've had no trouble reading the Subie display when sunny (uMalibu Maxx's display was unreadable when sun was anywhere near it)

    Wrt fuel economy, given huge hike in gas prices, $ difference between reg and premium is about 5%. Depending on octane in area you may be able to mix premium with plus (Turbo requires 91 octane but will run on lower grades for short time - too low and "check engine" light may come on).
  • phdhuskyphdhusky Posts: 85
    What options did you get?

    I am contemplating getting the side door protection but I look around these days and see that when people open doors they have a point to them (most apparent on the rear doors because of the wheel well cut) and that if they did open their door into yours the side door protection wouldn't even be hit.

    So far very satisfied with my 09 Sage Green Forester Premium and it just got it's first wash yesterday. Still at low miles...750
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    The interior materials don't bother me. We evaluated the '09 against the '08 and the '09 is an improvement. I don't go touching the surfaces all the time, so I don't feel things I don't like. I like the looks. I can't speak to the durability of the finishes, so time will tell. I hope they don't wind up scratched, dull, etc., but the plastics in other cars I've driven in the last decade or more have held up OK. Now back in the '70s-'80s, the interior plastics were truly junk, and they wore out quickly in the Texas sun.

    I do not agree that the console is cheap-feeling, and I like the design.

    Overall, I got about what I expect in a car at this class. We are pleased with the leather trim in our LL Bean. The square cupholders are just plain bizarre, and I wish the sun visors had extenders. The radio controls are a bit small. The front passenger seat rides too low relative to the dash -- makes you feel like you're sitting in a hole, at least compared to the '08. In fact, our main reason for getting the LL Bean was for the power driver seat: We could not raise the manually adjusted driver seat high enough for my wife's comfort in the '09 Premium; the power seat goes higher. I wish they had kept the higher seating position.

    I'd like a power liftgate like our van has. Didn't like having to order side moldings (they should be standard), but I just found out they have finally arrived at the dealer, and I'm getting a good discount on them through my sales rep.

    Nevertheless, we really enjoy this car. It had fewer drawbacks than the others we looked at.
  • skeletonskeleton Posts: 37
    I had the audio with just the addon tweeters for a week or so until I had installed the subwoofer. I would say that the subwoofer made a big difference in overall sound enjoyment. Definitely recommend it.

    Take note though that subwoofer installation requires that you remove the center dash cover and that the paint on that surface scratches very easily. Make sure to use a plastic tool to pry it off.
  • arnabcarnabc Posts: 27
    i have to admit i think the interior of the 09 forester is pretty decent. certainly much better than that of current competitors in its class (we did not look at the rogue, because of what we'd read about visibility issues).

    we didn't get very many options. our car came with the dimming mirrors/compass, and all-weather mats installed. we're adding on the ipod interface and more rugged cargo area mats. and i think we'll have to get the rear bumper protector, because otherwise the dogs jumping in and out is going to scratch it up in no time at all.
  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    The Forester we are considering is the XT model in Canada - however, I have been reading about comments of the Forester's disappointing interior - was that a factor in your decision to buy a Forester?Right now we have an 05Outback 3.0 model and like the interior - will the Forester be a major disappointment?! Keep in mind - safety and reliability are our two biggest concerns.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    I looked closely at both Outback and Forester while deciding. Outback interior had more interesting color treatment, a few nicer dash surfaces and headliner; felt more "Audi-ish". But not nice enough to overcome rattles I heard in two of them, and feeling a lot more cramped, especially in its back seat. Also kept banging my head on the door frame when getting in or out, and I'm only 5' 7".

    As for Forester noises, the work on that Overhead console has gotten rid of nearly all the interior creaks and pops I heard when it was new. Amazing how a couple of vinyl tubes rubbing on the consoles' interior could make such a racket. :surprise:
  • jbkennedyjbkennedy Posts: 70
    I just bought a 2.5X (Base), Camella Red, on Saturday. Wow, A lot of bang for the buck! One option that I did not get was a trailer hitch. I know that Subaru offers one for $350, but wondered if anyone had come across an aftermarket hitch yet. I know this is a brand new model, so it may be 6 months to a year before we see this offered.

    Seating position - I am 6'0" and over 200 lbs. and found I could adjust the height and tilt to a very comfortable position....and the rear legroom is great!...more than my wife's Rodeo,

    Interior - I really like the interior but my wife was a little worried about the durability of the seat fabric, so we got the dark interior which will do show the wear and soiling of the lighter fabrics.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    HItch installation on Forester takes some work - dealer told me part of the bumper has to be removed to attach it and to finish the wiring.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hard to keep track, let me see if I caught them all

    jbkennedy, Nancy, birdboy, did I miss any? Seems like a new owner appears every day. I'm still waiting for my special order PZEV LL Bean. SoA just called me to let me know it arrived at the port. These guys have been great, in fact the boat arrived on the exact day they forecast weeks ago.

    Glad to hear about the 27.6 and 31 (wow) mpg people are reporting.

    unresolved: I suggest you get a Chase Subaru credit card. You earn 3% back in Subaru Bucks and that can pay for all your maintenance. Very few manufacturers have programs that let you get free maintenance that way. Your ownership costs will be a lot lower if you do that.

    redrose: H6, not V6, on your Outback. Subtle yet important distinction. :shades:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    feel was comparable to the 5 and 6 speed v4 rav4 and i4 outlander models

    The 4 cylidner RAV4 actually has a 4 speed auto, just like the Forester. Mitsubishi uses a CVT for their 2.4l 4 cylinder models, but I drove one and it felt very disconnected.

    outlander has lower rated mileage, and probably lower resale value down the road

    Right here on Edmunds, you can get the figures from car_man, a very good resource.

    Using the same terms, 36 month lease with 15k miles/year, residual values are:

    Forester: 59%
    Outlander: 52%

    So yes, it will hold about 7% more of its original value.
  • bikerguy3bikerguy3 Posts: 43
    I have an '09 Forester X MT w/ Premium Package, purchased in Feb '08, with about 2700 miles on it now.

    I just returned from a 10 day vacation in Florida, where I rented a RAV4 and drove about 1,100 miles (the vehicle had about 10K miles on it). This was my first up close experience with the RAV4. Overall, it was not a bad vehicle. The front seats were comfortable, the ride was fairly quiet, gas mileage was about 28 mpg (about same as my Forester - although the rental was 2WD, I think). The engine power was plenty adequate, and xmission shifts were smooth. The interior was not bad, with some nice storage cubbies etc. Controls, handling, visibility were good. I really liked the power window "auto-up" feature (not just "auto-down" as in Forester). And the stereo system (which was base model) definitely had a better, fuller bass response - though it did not have an ipod or external audio input.

    The seating position in the RAV4 is very different from the Forester. With the RAV4, you are more sitting up high "on top" (like a full sized SUV/Truck) and "vertically-stacked", versus the Forester which is more sedan-like sitting "in" the vehicle "horizontally-stacked". As far as which is better, I think it comes down to personal preference.

    Probably the thing I liked the least about the RAV4 is the side-swing rear door and outside mounted spare tire. Toyota did a good job making the swinging door heavy and functionally smooth, but I find this layout awkward and cumbersome (and ugly).

    My other observation with the RAV4 is that while it is a "good" vehicle, it felt "pedestrian"...kind of was lacking a personality...a "soul, if you will. I think most of us who own (and love) our Subaru's feel a [at times "quirky"!]connection with our vehicle. No, they are not perfect cars, nor are they always the
    best in their category in many feature areas. But they are different. They perform great in the important areas - ie snow/mud traction, safety, economy, fun-to-drive, reliability.

    So, my bottom-line advice would be to drive both cars and see which one you feel better and more comfortable in. Neither one of them is going to be a "bad choice"
    as a CUV. Hope this helps!
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    yes , i would have bought the Forester regardless to the the cheap plastic interior. please understand when all was done with the add ons and LLBean, the car costs quite a bit. I expected a better upgrade. I also expected some seat adjustments for the passenger , even if manual. Doesn't the passenger seat comfort matter? There also was no leather or even faux leather on the door panels either, just hard plastic.I have been in a VW Passat for years and I guess I got used to the European fit and finish , even though they are cutting corners as well. I like the drive , feel, and space of the Forester. I did get the color door moldings and like them very much. I also got the Subwoofer which improves the sound from the less than I like stereo. On this topic, i also got the xm and can not understand the black antenna being mounted on the inside windshield. Why not on the roof of the car.
    At this point I bought the Forester for the AWD and its reliability over the interior materials. So far the only minor problem is a vibrating drivers side mirror. I am liking the car and thus far have no regrets.
  • bikerguy3bikerguy3 Posts: 43
    I purchased the Subaru Trailer Hitch and installed it myself on my '09 Forester.

    It was definitely a bit of work. Have to remove the rear bumper, mud flaps, the mufflers (both of them!), the entire spare tire area contents (foam storage dividers, etc). And you have to cut/trim away a section of the plastic bumber fascia - so be careful!

    But the directions were clear, and I completed the install with no problems.

    It helps if you have wheel ramps to get car up high to work under it. Also need a torque wrench to reinstall properly.

    Allow yourself about 4 hours to do the install.
  • I don't think the Forester's interior is disappointing at all--it has about 3 different colors of gray which complement each other nicely, and the dash top is a nice soft matte finish that does not generate any reflectivity in the windshield. I did my dash top with 303 protectant right away, which protects like Armor-All but doesn't increase the shine (the only drawback to 303 being that it smells like old socks for a day or so). The layout is logical, the red/blue lighting at night is cool, the double stitching on the leather is very nice. The CRV interior is maybe a little more upscale feeling and would be a bit more familiar to you as the owner of a Honda product (as I recall you have a TL?), but overall I like the Forester about 95% better than the CRV, which left me a little cold.
  • eng1722eng1722 Posts: 1
    I just purchased the trailer hitch and installed myself. Installation took just over 1 hour. Not much to taking the bumber off (4 screws and a few push pins). Just follow the directions and you will have no problems. Rear bumber trims out easily with a razor knife, just follow the lines on the bumber. Wiring harness just plugs into the the available plug in the rear cargo area.

    I found a few off market hitches cheaper than the Subaru dealer but they did not offer the correct wiring harness that Subaru says must be purchased with the entire package from Subaru. offers discount parts and has the hitch for $340. Possibly a little cheaper than the dealer depending on shipping.

    So far I am loving my 09 Premium Auto. Good luck and thanks to everyone for the great information on the Forrester.
  • redrose1redrose1 Posts: 49
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed response - greatly appreciated!
    We will definitely test drive both cars and let you know what we think!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So it still is pre-wired for towing, then. Good.

    A certain Mitsu owner didn't believe it was. Don't ask me why he thought they would have changed that. :lemon:
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